Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Episode 31: To Bail or Not to Bail

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Hello my loyal readers. Sorry I haven’t updated the L Comment in a while. I needed to take a holiday, and handle some personal matters. Everything is good and well now, and a lot has happened in America and the world since my departure, so I have lots to talk about. And with your help, lots to debate about! So without further ado, let us begin.

The new big crisis – it seems like we have a new one every week nowadays – is the automobile crisis. The futures of Ford, GM, and Chrysler hang in the balance. And the CEOs of the said companies want a piece of the bailout pie.

They made their first proposal for a bailout which didn’t exactly blow anyone’s skirt up. The Big 3 CEOs made their plea in Washington, flying there in private jets, raising the eyebrows of congress that held the fate of the car industry in their hands. Fortunately, for them, the CEOs were granted a second chance to convince Congress why they should allocate money for the bailout. The new plan included accountability and oversight measures, a salary cut to $1 for the CEOs, and the retooling of the industry to make the move towards fuel efficient and low/zero emission cars.

Chris Mathews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, has been talking about this bailout for a few weeks now, and asks everyone he interviews on the bailout subject “what kind of car do you drive?” Many of his guests drive Japanese cars. So do we really need to bailout a failed industry?

To respond to Chris Mathews question, I drive a car that is unarguably American… a big, V6, 267hp, fuel hungry, Chrysler 300. I love my car in all her American glory. She is the definition of American elegance – and gluttony. My only complaint about my car is fuel efficiency. To help, I do constantly keep my tires inflated, use aftermarket air filters and fluids that improve fuel efficiency and such, it is no match for a Honda Civic. But I do have a certain pride in driving a car made in the US of A, and I’d hate to see an important American institution cease to exist.

It is true that bad business is the cause the collapse of the auto industry. Cars got bigger, less fuel efficient, and frankly were not nearly as stylish as our Japanese counterparts (except the 300 of course!). However, a change in consumer philosophy can force American automakers to change their ways.

I’d like to see the bailout happen, but not without meeting certain conditions. First, I think President-elect Obama, should make good on his promise to increase fuel efficiency standards right away when he takes office. Every car made should be able to get at least 30 MPG city miles, beginning in 2010. Next, there need to be plans for zero emissions cars to go into production by 2015. Finally, there needs to be a restructuring of union benefits, so it doesn’t paralyze the industry. I do think unions need to exist to balance corporate power, but when unions become too powerful, they become a financial burden, which will stunt the restructuring effort. Other ideas posed by the CEOs in their new plan, such as shrinking the fleet to only a few cars will definitely help.

The automobile industry is one of our core American institutions. It is part of the American Story. And it is the epicenter of the manufacturing industry. I think that we need to keep the American Story alive. Japanese cars that are manufactured in America is NOT part of the American Story. The industry has to undergo the same transformation as the American citizen, an industry that embraces a culture of shared responsibility, sacrifice, and a renewed sense of American pride. It would be great to see millionaire CEOs fight the good fight with the rest of America because it is the right thing – the American thing – to do.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Episode 30: Why Hilary’s A Good Choice

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I needed to think this one out for a bit. I like Hilary. I was on her team before I got to know Obama. However, I wasn’t too sure of how I felt about Hilary Clinton as the Secretary of State.

I came to the conclusion that she would do a pretty good job. I have met her twice (and even was accosted by her secret service!!!) and she was my Senator. She is an outstanding politician, and very hard working. I can attest to this from experience.

But what makes her good for the job is her world status. She is incredibly popular in the international arena. Couple that with Obama’s worldwide superstar status and we’re talking about a completely different foreign policy game here… one in which the world may actually play with us this time around.

We can’t deny her sheer intelligence. What I like about the people Obama has been tossing around, is they are all very intelligent people. This shouldn’t sound strange, but after eight years of absolute incompetence, I welcome brains in our government. Clinton also has the Bill factor. I think in the end, they will all play nice. Hilary has nothing to gain by being a pain in the ass. She can EASILY become president in 2016, especially if Obama has successful terms. I think the Clintons will be invaluable resources. To have a successful president on the team can provide a certain insight no one else can.

Many people make a huge deal of the Obama vs. Clinton battle during the primaries. However, Obama and Clinton agreed 98% of the time about the issues and the solutions. The big problem came (gasp) with their view on foreign policy, when Obama said he would meet the bad guys without preconditions.

However, Obama stuck to his guns, and many, including five former secretaries of state agree with him (which should be noted, they agreed to with him after he said there needed to be preparations first). However, Hilary Clinton attacking Obama’s policy cause him to evolve over the course of the primaries and general election. Because he was challenged, he became a better politician. This is precisely why Obama wants a team of rivals. Like in the TV show House, Obama and his team debate big issues and constant debate helps to focus the lens and make informed decisions. Clinton on the team makes Obama better.

All in all, the media circus is just that – a circus. As much as I enjoy watching and reading the news, they have a horrible tendency to manufacture stories to make them interesting or controversial. How can we blame them? It boosts ratings, sells papers and magazines, and we soak it up like a sponge! I see it… the change we can believe in. Obama is creating a team of people to offer him many perspectives. Obama’s greatest strength his ability to hear many points of view and then process the ideas, and then boil it down to the decisive action. In order to do all the things he promised, he needs that challenge… he thrives from it. So I think we should sit down, shut up, and let the man work!! He hasn’t even sat in the big chair yet! But when he does, I have great confidence that he will make good on at least 90% of his promises. And I think his first 5 appointments/considerations is a clear indicator of the success that is to come.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Episode 29: Joe the Traitor?

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I know… another Joe the _____ reference, but this one was so fitting, I couldn’t resist.



Joe Lieberman defected to the dark side of the force when he chose to campaign with John McCain this election speaking. To add insult to injury to all the democrats that voted him in office, he spoke at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul on John McCain’s behalf. In and of itself, speaking on behalf of a longtime friend while alienating his constituency is not a horrible thing, even though he will probably get the stink-eye at from annoyed senators, but openly campaigning against his party’s presidential candidate when promised not to do, is not good.

Still, President-Elect Obama seems to want to let bygones be bygones. And I suppose why not, Obama did win after all. However, when Lieberman questions Obama’s patriotism, questions whether he has Marxist views, and thinks he is naïve on foreign policy affairs, should Lieberman really be allowed to remain the chairman of the Homeland Security Dept.?

The answer is yes and no. Lieberman puts the Obama Administration in quite the catch 22. With Ted Stevens down by 3 (!!) votes in the Alaska Senate race, and the Georgia and Minnesota Senate races going into a recount – all three races carrying the possibility – the democrats stand a reasonably good chance of obtaining the golden 60 seats to create a filibuster proof senate. This would give Obama the green-light to enact some pretty bold (and much needed) policy with little opposition. Lieberman does vote with the democrats 90% of the time. But what is the price he pays for going against the future leader of the free world? Does he really get to trash Obama with some very ludicrous allegations and then go back to business as usual? All for the sake of having 60 senate votes?

I think Lieberman should get kicked to the curb. Here’s the deal – if you are a politician, and you vote against good policy that you would normally agree with because you have a grudge to carry out, YOU ARE A BAD AMERICAN and do not deserve a senate seat at all! Kick him out, and really engage in a spirit of bipartisanship by reaching out to moderate and even right republicans to sign on to these ideas! We NEED clean energy. We NEED a better healthcare system. We NEED fuel efficient cars. Every American can sign on to these ideas. So President-Elect Obama (I can’t wait for Jan. 20th… President Obama rolls off the tongue), as much as I applaud your Zen-like calm and affability, I think you should reconsider your stance on Lieberman. If you allow him to caucus for the Democrats, then take away his chair on Homeland Security, or something… anything! Don’t let him get off scot-free!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Episode 28: Re: Prop 8

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A week ago today, America made history… and a historic mistake.



Three states, Arizona, Florida, and California had ballot measures that called for the banning of gay marriage. All three passed, but one state in particular – California, made major headlines because the passage of the ban repealed an existing law.

A bit of history, the law to ban gay marriage in California was brought up in 2001 and was passed on the basis that marriage is defined by union between a man and a woman. This past May, the California Supreme Court overturned this ruling, citing Perez v. Sharp – a case about interracial marriage that states "equal respect and dignity" of marriage is a "basic civil right." In this brief time between May and November, thousands of gay couples married. Now, that right has been taken away.

I tried to view this issue as objectively as I could. And I can understand why some believe it is an infringement on one’s religious beliefs to have gays marry. The question I have is why does it matter? A far right, ultra- conservative-Christian in Sacramento would never know a gay couple married in Los Angeles. A firm believer of the sanctity of marriage in Maine would never know of a lesbian couple marrying in San Diego. So why are Americans so afraid of gay marriage? I did all my schooling in New York, and I don’t recall ever talking about marriage in school, as it is a religious issue that goes against separation of church and state. I imagine, it should be the same in any public school.

Still, that’s neither here or there… I still say “mind your own business!” Talk about the sanctity of marriage… according to divorcerate.org, there is a 50/50 chance a heterosexual marriage will be successful! So why are we taking away the right to marry from people who truly love their partner? Who ask nothing else but to be recognized by the court of law and have the same rights and benefits as anyone else? Who want nothing more than a shot at love?

Yet, speaking of a shot at love, we see Tila Tequila prancing around the screen in search of the most blatantly superficial “Shot At Love” with strangers she barely knows, chock full of manufactured drama and no substance between her and her would be “lovers” whatsoever. Yet the real life counterpart is struck down in the court. America, we have no doubt come a long way in electing Barack Obama, but we still have a lot of growing up to do. And to all the fundamental Christians and social conservatives, “Love thy neighbor as you would love thyself.”

By the way, much congratulations to Stu Rasmussen on becoming the first America's transgender mayor - the mayor of Silverton Oregon. Maybe there's hope after all.
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Episode 27: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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Martin Luther King Jr. said: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

And on November 4th 2008, America awoke from its 45 year long slumber, and witnessed at 11 o’clock eastern standard time, the realization of that dream. The milliseconds before the clock struck eleven, the psyche of a nation had undergone a dramatic metamorphosis which came to fruition another millisecond later. At eleven, newscasters from around coast to coast proclaimed in unison “we can now project Barack Obama the next president of the United States.” From the 75,000 strong at Grant Park, to the thousands in Times Square, to the living rooms of millions, America and the world cried out in exaltation. We elected the first African American President.

And it wasn’t the kind of photo finish win we’ve seen the past two election cycles. Barack Obama won decisively, earning a total of 364 electoral votes. The victory, doesn’t only belong to President-Elect Obama, but also to Americans, who in one loud voice last Tuesday demanded change, and aspired to a greater America bound together under one banner – the American flag. Obama called for self sacrifice, shared responsibility, a commitment to serve one another, and rebuild a nation. We heeded. As Obama always reminds us, it isn’t going to be easy. We are going to have to work, come together and sacrifice if we are to going to pave the way for a better future for home and abroad. But I know we will rise to the occasion. Americans always do. I have never been filled with so much hope for a better tomorrow. I know the sentiment it shared with millions others.

As a Black American, this victory was especially special for me. I felt a sense of validation, and increased worth. As Whoopi Goldberg said, “I can put my suitcase down.” I have always loved my country, but I really loved my country on Tuesday night. I could not hold back the tears of pride and joy.

Look out world, America is coming to the 21st century table. “The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live.” –Gil Scott Heron
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Episode 26: The Scoop - Election Ed.

Here we are folks! Election Day! I cast my vote today... please make sure you all do too! The following is a live update of Election Night:

(times in PST)

9:30pm: Obama's speech was nothing short of amazing. Yes we can. Yes we did. And yes we will.

8:00pm: THEY CALLED IT. OBAMA IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT!

7:35pm: Dems' picked up 4 seats in the senate with NC, VA, NM, and NH giving the dems 55. There is still a chance to get to 60 votes, especially in Alaska, but it's definitely too early to tell.

6:51:pm With numbers looking good in NC and FL, and Obama winning of NM, we're looking at Obama winning with well over 300 EVs. As it stands now, Obama is up 200-90, with CA, OR, and WA that brings Obama to 273. Many of the West Coast polls will be closing in a few moments, and then 30 minutes later, we'll start getting those polls.

6:26pm: OBAMA WINS OH! This is locked now. I do not see how McCain can pick up the 20 EVs now.

6:16pm: The Senate race is going VERY well for dems. Kay Hagan won NC... and thank goodness... Dole's "Godless" ad was the WORST attack I've ever seen by a modern candidate. Obama is creeping up in VA as the Northern VA numbers are coming in. So far, McCain is winning all the states he was supposed to win, making the battle for Virginia that much more important at this juncture.

6:03pm Obama 175-70... 95 EVs to go (Cali makes up 55 of those). so far the polling has been pretty accurate, but Louisiana is goign well for Obama...unexpected twist?

5:36pm: McCain has GA... I think Atlanta is not big enough a city to overcome the different between the traditional vote and Black vote. It was a late toss up however, so it's not a big loss... just a loss of a good get.

5:00pm: ...Wow!! 8pm EST brought som big news! McCain picked up West Virginia and Oklahoma. Obama won PA... The McCain strategy is crashed. Obama also cleaned up shop in the New England States. FL, MO, AL, NC too close to call. Should Obama pick up OH and NC, it's an issue of how many EVs he'll win by.

4:00pm: McCain draws first blood... He got Kentucky.

3:55pm: The intereting thing about living on the west coast is having the advantage of watching the whole election in normal hours! The election ends during primetime here, so I have about 7 different sits up, flipping between 3 channels, and texting friends from several different states to get the scoop. So far, Obama is looking good in Indiana. Only 2% of the electorate has voted so far, but the wind is definitely blowing in his favor.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Episode 25: Battlefield America!

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I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!! Election day is tomorrow! It feels like Christmas eve – cool crispy air, the promise of milk and honey the following day, and non-stop TV about the event. So let us talk about the big factors going into the big election.



The Undecided Vote: I took Friday off to do a lot of reading and number crunching to help me understand the polls and the politics. What I came up with is the undecided vote should be considered a non issue. With the undecided vote in the 6% area, I think it will be a three way split. One third will vote McCain because they don’t agree with republican’s but are uncomfortable with a Black president. Another third will vote for Obama because they are uncomfortable about voting for a Black president, but they dislike republicans so much, they’re willing to “take a risk.” The final third simply will not vote… they may be disengaged with politics, or truly indifferent. Therefore, at best, McCain can only pick up a maximum 2-3% of the popular vote.

The Numbers Game: The number of democratic voters outweigh the number of republican voters. Contrary to McCain’s internal pollster Bill McInturff, the numbers will not break in McCain’s direction. McInturff argues that even if all the African American, Latino, and Youth vote comes out, the number of Evangelical Christians will out number them. Because the democrats make up a larger percentage of the voting community, I don’t see how his argument holds any water. One factor that can have a significant impact is..

Vote Troubles: Be it voter suppression, broken machines, hacked computers, and whatnot, the one factor that can hurt Obama is cheating. However, Obama’s massive ground campaign has tons of people on the ground to police the situation, as do the republicans (though in fewer number).

The Battleground States: By my count, Obama wins the election at worst, with 338 electoral votes, at best, 360 electoral votes (states where Obama is leading by a small margin), and at improbable (taking into account all polls where a red state moved from strong McCain to lean McCain to less than or equal to statistically tied), 406 electoral votes.

States Obama will win: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Ohio. States Obama should win: Virginia, North Carolina. States I’m nervous about: Florida, Indiana. Good gets: Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and ARIZONA!

The road for McCain is VERY steep. He needs to win literally everything: PA, FL, VA, NC, OH, and IN. This scenario is McCain 270, Obama 268. According to the polls (see fivethirtyeight.com on the links section), PA is an incredibly unlikely get. Huge urban populations in Philly and Pittsburg make up an overwhelming percentage of the vote which strongly favors Obama. Here’s the deal, I think we’ll know the winner possibly at 7pm EST, 8pm EST tops. Indiana is the first state to close – if Obama wins, the ONLY way McCain can win is with Pennsylvania. An hour after Indian, Ohio and Florida close. If Obama picks up one or both of those states, the race is effectively over; it becomes a question of by how much Obama wins.

Democratic Last Minute Notes: Keep on doing what you’re doing… get the message out to get people to the polls. The only thing that can hurt is the lack of voters – early vote numbers show that the rock the vote campaign has broken records in early voting.

Republican Last Minute Notes: Everyone will keep their eye on Pennsylvania. That is the battleground of battlegrounds. Without PA (this still includes an Obama loss in FL, OH, VA, NC, and IN!!), Obama wins 289 to 249.

My Thoughts: All you have to do is look at the people in attendance at these rallies. Obama rallies have an overwhelming number of youth and diversity, while McCain rallies have an older ago group – 45+ years old. That is what we are voting for my dear readers. The future versus the present. The new ideas versus the old ideas. There is so much symbolism in this election. Obama talks about an America that looks to higher education and technology as the new face of America. McCain champions Joe the Plumber, who is complacency in the status quo personified (literally and figuratively). The choice is as clear as day, and it is my sincerest wish that Americans chose to look to the future. That future, without a doubt is Barack Obama. I am a nobody in the political sphere, but I’m going on the record and offering my endorsement to Barack Obama.

Bitter? Sweet? Or Bitter Sweet?

I love elections, and maps, and polls, and speeches, and rhetoric, and fully exercising my first amendment rights to criticize our government. I loved the CNN, MSNBC, Daily Show, Colbert Report, Letterman, Leno, and SNL jokes. I loved reading the latest news (and to outdo Palin, I’ll name a few – NY Times, WSJ, Politico, Huffington Post I am proud to have raised a lot of money for Obama’s campaigns. Still, it is A LOT of the same news, and I’m ready for The L Comment to move on to some fresh stories! So it is Bittersweet for me! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the post, and your feelings on the campaign! Leave a comment!
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Episode 24: Joe the Missing?

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This short clip is my new favorite Youtube! At a rally in Ohio today, McCain called Joe the Plumber onto the stage, only to be greeted with… silence! JTP wasn’t there!



I guess he missed the memo…

While we’re on this [name] the [occupation] kick, allow me to take a stab at it, and call out “Joe the Metaphor.” Joe, who’s real name is Sam, was launched from obscurity to fame in a matter of minutes, after he became the running metaphor of the working American in the 2nd debate. But the larger metaphor is how Joe the Plumber perfectly encapsulates the McCain campaign message – or lack thereof.

Joe went from enjoying his 15 minutes, to hating the attention, to loving the attention, to aspiring to run for congress, to hiring a publicist, to vying for a country music record deal. The many phases of Joe, which have no meaningful connection with each other, and have nothing to do with the election, check.

Next, Joe is a foreign policy expert. He was asked in a press conference if a vote for Obama means the death of Israel, to which, he replied “I’m gonna have to go ahead and agree with that.” Even Fox News had to debunk that claim! Making spurious claims with no basis in the truth whatsoever to scare a particular demographic of voters, check.

Joe has a publicist? Talk about cashing in! That publicist is gonna stick Joe in everything from music, to TV shows, to book deals, and then drop him like its hot. Cashing in on C-List celebrity status from being thrust into the media’s eye in the 11th hour, check.

So as we can see, Joe couldn’t have been a better puppet to drag around for the last five days. He is the epitome of the lack of direction, focus, and lack of message for a campaign devoid of substance. But as with all the William Hungs of the world, it is sure fun to watch the spectacle!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Episode 23: The Elevator

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So I have been wondering why my episode numbers havent been matching with the number of posts made. I deleed and reposted episode 6, so I thought it was blogger's fault. It turns out, I just missed number 23 lol. So here is my explaination... When buildings exceed 13 floors, they skip floor 13 because it's bad luck. 13+10 equals 23. Therefore it is a bad luck number in this blog as well. I have much like symmetry, so I only added this post for the sake of evening out the numbers!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Episode 22: Your Vote Counts!

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I don’t think this is the McCain campaign's doing, more likely independent supporters, but we’re seeing the adage “if you can’t win, cheat!” take effect.

It’s a shame people have resorted to these measures. Even more important than the first amendment (and I was a communications major!) is our right to vote. I have no respect for anyone who tried to suppress voting. Win with class, or go down with dignity.

But What The McCain Camp Is Doing…

…is making up their own poll numbers! Talk about crestfallen and disillusioned! I think the bigger purpose is to keep the base excited about the election still. Having done a fair amount of sampling research, I know that the internal McCain polling has a fair share of sample bias, but you can’t blame them for trying!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Episode 21: Cold Hard Cash

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With the economy in shambles, the presidential election by and large is about how each candidate will address America’s financial future. The democratic and republican candidates have wholly different approaches to the issue but which plan is better?



As I understand it, McCain wants to continue the supply-side economic model, which offers tax breaks to all Americans and businesses, in hopes that the savings will be reinvested into small business, the stock market, and the creation of new business. In order for this model to succeed, it requires the government interferes with the free market as little as possible by way of the deregulation of lending institutions, believing banks should determine whether to issue loans, not government mandates.

I’m not sure what the economic term for Obama’s plan is, but he labels it as “bottom-up economics.” In this plan, there is a tax cut for middle class, working Americans. Those making under $250,000, or 95% of working Americans, would receive tax relief. There would not be any taxes on capital gains, and small businesses get a tax credit when starting a new business. Also there is tax relief for business owners who hire American workers.

In a perfect capitalist system, I believe there is much merit to John McCain’s model. I believe capitalism, the idea that anyone with a good idea can rise to wealth, competition that drives prices down while increasing quality, and the ability to reinvest to create sustainable wealth is what makes America so great. The problem is capitalism inherently has winners and losers. In a perfect system, losers give their idea a shot, and when it fails in the market, they come up with a new idea or they quit. In reality, losers try to cheat their way to get ahead, and winners try to cheat the game to stay ahead. Because of an imperfect system, there is a need for a referee.

That referee is the government. Regulation is essential to ensure the free market system works. Without rules, and punishment for breaking the rules, the free market becomes the wild west – a recipe for disaster that came into fruition with the economic crisis almost two months ago.

McCain’s plan requires a cultural change; a change that encourages shared responsibility. The survival-of-the-fittest model in play is a game of “every man for himself.” This causes a hoarding mentality, as we are more apt to accumulate wealth, and then spend the money on ourselves. When the economy is good, we buy lavish things: cars, jewelry, clothes, etc. However when the economy is bad, we pay our bills. In the end, we do not reinvest money, building a business is difficult, and economic growth is stunted. The true irony of McCain’s plan is Obama’s approach is a necessary pre-requisite to ensuring the success of a supply-side model.

Obama’s economic approach requires a much broader brush stroke to fully understand how it affects our financial future. The first step is to rebuild the middle class. In order to create the kind of growth McCain suggests, it is essential that we have a thriving middle class to mitigate the hoarding mentality. By offering extreme relief to the middle class, middle class spending confidence will be restored. This will get money circulating again, and in the long term end our financial crisis. By providing incentives to hire Americans, more people will be able o go to work. Finally, by increasing spending for infrastructure, even more people will have access to jobs while simultaneously repairing our roads, bridges, and tunnels. Looking at the big picture, this spreads opportunity for economic growth for Americans of all socio-economic status, from labor jobs, to white collar jobs.

Increasing the number of jobs is just the first element. The next element, and the most important element, is redefining the American culture. Obama wants to move from the hoarding mentality to a mentality of shared responsibility. I think his vision is largely based on his beginnings as a community organizer; this is community organizing on the grandest of scales! The first part deals with energizing young Americans to participate in civic responsibilities. One way he proposes is a $4000 credit for college tuition in exchange of doing community service. At first, young Americans will adhere to their hedonistic tendencies, and volunteer only to get money for school. However, over time, young Americans will develop the self initiative to perform civic duties, and help one another.

The second aspect deals with transportation and information technology. By investing in these infrastructures, Americans from all parts of the country become accessible to on another. Broadband access in rural communities means they can earn college credits from home, participate in internet jobs, and build international businesses somewhere in the mountains of Wyoming. Bullet trains, faster, clean, and safer transportation allows us to easily access any part of the country and break down the walls that keep us apart. We can no longer be ignorant of what is going on from state to state, if we hope to compete country to country.

We become a nation inextricably intertwined under Obama’s plan. This plan is dependent on a revitalized middle class. The insinuation, or I suppose outright claim that this plan is socialist is absurd. None of what I described can happen in a socialist system. We need a free market to create the kind of jobs and competition to make any of Obama’s plans work. One people have money, the middle class is revitalized, and our culture has been redefined, it may be possible that a supply-side system may work. However, it is just as possible that we undo our progress, and revert to the hoarding mentality.

These are big picture ideas not even on McCain and Palin’s radar. None of what I write here will come to fruition in 4 years. Should Obama be reelected, we may only see a tiny sprout of this cultural redefinition. But Obama will definitely set the precedent for a better America. We will rise and fall as one nation. Which direction we go is solely up to us.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Episode 20: Talking Points

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This post is just a few thoughts I had about some recent news. They weren’t long enough to warrant its own, so I put them all together. It may turn into a regular segment, so stay tuned.

Regarding Undecided Voters:

Who could possibly be undecided at this point? There hasn’t been such a major ideological difference between two presidential candidates for at least a couple of decades. From taxes, to jobs, to planning for the future of transportation and energy technology, Obama and McCain are nearly polar opposites. They do meet in the middle on some of the needs for the country, but still have different ideas for achieving the same goal. The general thought is undecided voters this late out wants to vote McCain, but don’t agree with his campaign tactics, Palin, or the war in Iraq. They seem to be waiting for a ground-breaking, earth-shattering, reason to solidify their vote for either candidate. I doubt this late in the game they will get it.

Regarding Palin’s $150,000 Wardrobe:

The problem is not that Palin is wearing clothes from high fashion designers. I do believe her when she says the clothes will be , returned or given to charity. The problem is that citizens donate money to the RNC for the campaign. They shell out hard earned dollars in a bad economy to support a cause the believe in. They expect that money to go towards ads, town hall meetings, flyers, bumper stickers, and things of the like, but not for the wardrobe and make up for one candidate. It is true Obama has been able to outspend McCain as much as 5:1. Thus it is in the best interest of the RNC to use their money wisely. Which brings me to…

Regarding Effective Advertising:

The McCain money problem is also routed in wasting money on attack ads that don’t work. It proves how out of touch with the country the McCain campaign is. With 24 hour news, bloggers, internet, podcasts, broadband access, fiber optics, Youtube etc, information moves at the speed of light. The American population is savvy enough to vet the information they receive, and read credible sources of information to debunk false claims. If the someone thought Obama said something out of bounds on a speech, and repeated the sound bites that seem damaging, Americans interested in discovering the truth for themselves can simply watch Youtube and hear for themselves exactly what was said and draw their own conclusions.
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Episode 19: Yes We Can!

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A friend of mine showed me this video, and I had to share it.



I don't understand it... I don't understand how people think McCain and Palin are relevant when you hear Obama speak. This is not fancy rhetoric... this is a well thought out examaination of the state of our union, and what we can do to make America and the world a better place. All I hear from the other side of the aisle is an ignorant disregard for the future of our country, egocentrism masked as patriotism, and a lack of the rational thought.

8 days left however. Can Obama do it? YES HE CAN! and YES WE CAN!!!
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Episode 18: Time Warp

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I had to check the calendar, pinch myself, and rub my eyes, because I was pretty sure I traveled back in time to a hi-def version on the 1950s. I urge you to spend a few moments to watch these next couple of videos in turn.





From an anthropological perspective, this election cycle is by far the most interesting election in modern history. Some of what I alluded to in EPISODE ONE has actually come to light; the ideas of change and progression are conflicting with the desperate clinging to obsolete ideals. The easiest way to ward off change is to ground oneself in the past and hold to dear life to one’s principles. If a politician’s rhetoric is based on say 1950’s America (the good ol’ days) and Christianity, what kind of attack can shake their resolve? America was a calmer time back then before people starting wanting to be treated like people, and one would be foolish to come between another’s God.

Yet there are others who realized we have exhausted the full potential of the Baby Boomer culture, and technology, interdependence, and becoming a member of the global community is the future of this country. Change can be scary and uncertain. However it is not in the best interest for America to slap on a Liberal, Leftist, Anti-American, Socialist, Communist label for anyone who wants to travel uncharted territory of our new modern world. In fact, the ultra-conservative, populist, anti-intellectual culture will usher this country back into the principles of the early 1900s. We will not be able to compete with the global market. Consider China, which has embraced a culture of intellectualism for over 6000 years, or Neo-Europeans, who have embraced cultural progressivism. And here we are with John McCain, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and the staff of Fox News embracing “Joe Six-pack.” I have nothing against Joe Six-pack, but shouldn’t we as a nation be aspiring toward greater things?

Have you once heard McCain truly address the importance of investing in higher education (which he calls a SPECIAL INTEREST)? Have you heard McCain address the importance of providing broadband access to rural communities? Sarah Palin, ignorantly mocked the importance of FRUIT FLIES for scientific research. And the republicans dare to question the judgment of Barack Obama?

“This election is a numbers game – it is a question of whether there are more of us or more of them…” someone said to me today. True words and wise words… let us hope, for the sake of all of us, there are indeed more of us come November 4th.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Episode 17: Dissent Amongst The Ranks

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“It looks like the ‘Straight Talk Express’ has lost a wheel” said Barack Obama in the second debate. Now it seems the bus also has a blown transmission, dead battery, a cracked windshield, and a stalled engine.

Perhaps it stared with the defection of Colin Powell or the endorsement of over 100 newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune – a paper that has never endorsed a democrat in its long history. It seems the nods for Obama from these venerable sources has put the wind in the sails for a McCain exodus – or from another point of view, triggered the abandoning the Straight Talk Ship.

Other converts include Susan Eisenhower, Governor Linwood Holton of Virginia, who is campaigning for Obama in the state, Bill Ruckelshaus, who served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, Christopher Buckley, son of conservative icon and founder of the republican publication The National Review (and subsequently tendered his resignation because of this endorsement), and the list continues.

Furthermore, McCain is now attacking Bush’s policies these last 8 years, which is causing quite a stir amongst the republican base. In a joint interview with McCain and Palin on NBC Nightly News, the two were definitely not in sync. It is speculated that Palin’s unfavorable standing in the polls are causing somewhat of a rift.

But the biggest blow, which must cut McCain pretty deep, has to come from CC Goldwater, granddaughter of McCain’s hero Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater. She writes:

“Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics. I learned a lot about my grandfather while producing the documentary, Mr. Conservative Goldwater on Goldwater. Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.”

The rest of her commentary can be found here.

This campaign will go down in the history books as one of the worst. I guarantee, a few years down the road when all of this information has been fully digested, it will serve as a cautionary tale for future political strategists.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Episode 16: Interviewing Tips 101

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A quick Google search for “Job Interview” would reveal 659,000 hits for relevant info on how to impress your potential boss. Some tips include “know some information about your employer” or “research your job position” or “dress to impress.” Let’s see how Sarah Palin fares in our little test.

Know Some Information About Your Employer

For anyone running for high office, the people of the United States is the employer. As I have written in previous posts, I feel with far stronger conviction, that Palin’s message does not extend beyond the base – she’s preaching to Wasila, Alaska, and places of the like. Far worse, she has effectively alienated us city-slickers by referring to big towns as “anti-American.” In every TV interview, she proves she is completely out of touch with the needs of the American public, repeating her rehearsed talking points like a parrot. What’s worse, she has a knack for contradicting the agenda on her own campaign, be it telling people at a food stand that we should fire over the Pakistani border if we have bin Laden in our sights, to denouncing robo calls, to misquoting how many former secretaries of state endorsed McCain.

Grade: F

Research Your Job Position

Dennis Kucinich famously carried the Constitution in his pocket. I happen to have the Constitution app on my iPhone. Anyone who has been in 6th grade has the Constitution in their history book. Anyone with internet access can Google the Constitution. So why is it the Vice Presidential nominee has failed to understand her duties as VP? Keith Olberman hit the nail on the head with his “Campaign Comment” which you can watch below.



Very simple job description… break ties in the Senate, and play backup Quarterback. That is precisely what the role of backup QBs is – know the playbook, and sit on the bench unless the starring Quarterback is injured. Not sit in the coach’s room and make plays, not getting in there and making policies whenever she felt the need to do so. The sad thing is it only takes a library rental, or internet search, or the council of a high school senior to find information on what exactly her job position entails.

Grade: F

Dress For Success

If there is one thing about Sarah Palin to like, she has pretty incredible fashion sense. I’m sure Rich Lowery would agree. I always thought to myself “she is sporting some really nice clothes!” and was rather impressed with the business professional attire. When she takes to the stage, like her or hate her, you can’t help but feel a… certain connection… a certain energy, a confident gate that shimmers across the screen like a shooting star. Turns out however, elegance pays, as the RNC spent over $150,000 for her wardrobe from top fashion designers like Sachs New York. So much for the hockey mom image… I wonder if her standing in the polls would be better if she took to the stage in a sweatshirt and jeans.

Grade: A+

Why is it I rag on Sarah Palin so much? I will be blunt – the thought of her as my Vice President offends me. I know I’m only an ideological political Blogger, a rookie one at that, but I never thought I’d see such a desperate ploy to win over the hearts and mind of Americans. Women should be offended as well. Hilary Clinton is incredibly intelligent, understands the needs of the people, and knows how to effectively communicate her ideas. Sarah Palin doesn’t even qualify as a cheap imitation. Palin, in comparison, is the embodiment of cliché, innuendo, and awful sentence structure. I ask you fellow Americans, if the Presidency was a job interview, and you were the boss, would you seriously hire Sarah Palin?

Besides her woefully inaccurate interpretation of her job, she lacks intellectual curiosity, and possesses are narrow world view. The latter to no fault of her own, as she was pretty much born and raised an Alaskan, leaving her home state only for college. She tried to go to school in Hawaii for a bit, but the warm weather wasn’t her scene and she went back to Alaska. As the governor of that state some years later, she was perfectly equipped to service the wants and needs of her people.

Now the McCain campaign has her on a tight leash, spoon feeding her agenda and not letting her out to talk to the media unless Daddy McCain is around to supervise. Women, where are you?? Recent polls do show an increasing unfavorability for Palin among women voters, but why isn’t this number closer to 100%?

I really can’t help but feel awful for Palin because I think I would like her if she wasn’t the VP nominee. She was thrust into this spot and she can’t get out. Should the republicans lose, she will return to Alaska with a tarnished reputation. She will be remembered in the history books as the single biggest mistake of the Republican party. No pundit, surrogate, campaign staffer, or candidates themselves, will ever admit that she is ill-equipped for the job, as that undermines their message and will certainly spell the end of the campaign. We can only hope that 12 days from now, her bid for the white house comes to a close. She certainly, has great skill, cunning, and instincts for her governor role in Alaska, but I want her nowhere near the red button.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Episode 15: The Powell Effect

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On the News Show “Meet The Press” this past weekend, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has broken the republican ranks, and endorsed Barack Obama for president.



"I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities -- and you have to take that into account -- as well as his substance -- he has both style and substance… He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president." said Powell.

While on the other side of the aisle, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called the endorsement “…totally about race” on his show.



I have been called a hopeless optimist about many things, but I have always expressed major concern with race relations in this country. Allow me to state at the onset (since the allegiance of liberals have been a… concern as of late) that I love America with all my heart. The ability to even write this blog without fear of persecution is a testament to greatness of America. However, I feel race issues in this country have never been fully addressed. It is like the awkward conversation about sex parents have with their kids – “mommies and daddies ‘do it’ and that’s that…. Get it? Got it? Good. Let us never speak of it again.”

And for 40 years, we haven’t addressed race, instead electing to slap a “taboo” label on it, and never speaking of it again. And though there are laws and regulations in place that protect minorities from overt racism, no law can stop an old lady from clutching her bag tighter as I pass her down the street. What we are seeing now is the explosion of suppressed race tension. McCain and Palin have planted seeds of hate and division that has given permission to the crazies to say what they really feel about America. I can’t begin to express my extreme disappointment for the lack of social progression in some parts of the country, and in the minds and hearts of some people.

Still, I am an optimist. I still believe that the population of hate mongering, overtly racist people is very small. I still believe that in 2008, racism isn’t just taboo, white people genuinely denounce it. I still believe that Rush Limbaugh is preaching to a very small choir.

What does the Colin Powell endorsement mean for Obama? Very little at this point, I’m afraid, but not for a bad reason. Despite Limbaugh’s harsh criticism, Powell is a highly respected person in the political and military spheres. Perhaps the endorsements tips the vote in favor for Obama for undecided voters in the military. Perhaps civilian undecided voters have a justification now for voting Obama.

I see this endorsement as not a final nail in the coffin for McCain, but a testament to the incredible campaign Obama has run. He has remained consistent, and he stuck with what he knows how to do – move and inspire people to achieve a better life. Obama is prophet-like, starting with only a few believers, and picking up followers along the way until his message became a movement.

By all political accounts, Hilary Clinton should have beaten him in the primaries, but there is something about the delivery, there careful chosen and thoughtful words, his stride, his confidence that moves people. Powell correctly identified Obama as a “transformation figure.” I think this is a quality that everyone can see in Obama, but Powell’s endorsement justifies. Will this make the polls wildly swing in Obama’s favor? I doubt it, but that not how the Obama campaign has worked anyway. It is a gradual increase of followers that will no doubt reach its apex on November 4th.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Episode 14: OOOH Boy…

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If anyone ever had any doubt the ultra-conservative population was completely irrelevant, here is a story that should seal the deal. Bob Grant, and apparently other conservative radio hosts were angry when Obama, when giving a speech in Toledo Ohio, had propped behind him US flags and… “Obama Flags!”

Said Bob Grant,

"[D]id you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the 'O' flag. And that's what that 'O' is. That's what that 'O' is."

Mr. Grant… that is… the OHIO STATE FLAG! Oh my wow! That has to be the most ignorant comment I have heard in a long time. The flag was adopted in 1902, when Obama was negative 59 years old!

Swing and a miss…

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Episode 13: The Scoop

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There are a few interesting things going on in the world of politics, so instead of 3 different episodes, I thought I’d do one episode of the 3 funnier stories I’ve heard. Then I had the bright idea to make it a new segment on The L Comment. So beginning now, every 13th episode will be “The Scoop” posts!

#3 Story – Hotties and Hockey Moms?




Keith Olberman has this commentary from Rich Lowery from the National Review as a running joke on the show. I did a little digging on the web and found the sexy, sultry, erotic, quote from a most lonely man… children under 17 not admitted without adult supervision…

“A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.”


Cue the sexy saxophone riff…

#2 Story – Haha… Another Black Joke



As a Black male myself, I could rattle off a few stereotypes pretty easily: Black people like fried chicken, kool-aid, watermelons, pork ribs, etc. And it would so have it an independent republican supporting group in San Bernadino CA, designed Obama Bucks – a food stamp with *gasp* fried chicken, kool-aid, watermelons, and pork ribs on the bill! Good grief, for goodness sake it’s 2008! However, it is quite proven by now that these attacks score Obama points in the polls, so maybe these jerks are undercover democrats?

#1 Story – Look Out Mario... A New Plumber Is in Town!



The world famous Italian Plumber from Brooklyn now has to share the spotlight. In the debate last night, a man Joseph Wurzelbacher, now forever known as “Joe the Plumber” was brought up as the running metaphor for the middle class guy trying to achieve the American Dream. Well as you’d expect, Joe had a barrage of news trucks, reporters, and lights, this morning and got his 15 minutes of fame the following morning. Big mistake for McCain to bring him up, because it seems McCain made up Joe’s story. Joe the Plumber is actually not a plumber but a contractor, doesn’t make over $100,000 but $40,000, and he had no plans to buy his boss’ business. If he did however, he would only make about $100,000 a year which falls well within Obama’s tax plan. Can I hear a big OOPS?!

Still, I can’t help but feel bad for Joe. He was an innocent bystander, trying to do the right thing by exercising his American right to carefully choose who he’ll vote for. However the nosy media, in the interest of telling the whole story, went through his banking records, property licenses, bills, employment history, family records and whatnot, and uncovered some information I’m sure Joe would rather keep private. Now his whole neighborhood knows he is an unlicensed, lower middle class, single parent, undecided plumber.

Take a seat Joe Six-Pack, there’s a new sheriff in town!
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Episode 12: Fireworks! Finally!

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Wow! Is it possible Obama and McCain kept their energy bridled in anticipation for the final fight?! This is the debate I was waiting for. Frankly, every 1-on-1 debate should be in this format. The first debate lent itself toward rambling. The second debate was an utter failure because it wasn’t really a town hall format. But sitting down, and arguing their points of view, now THAT is how you debate. For the first time in this debate process, both candidates clearly demonstrated their points of view. And now, it is up to the voter to decided which point of view.

Some pundits believed that Obama was beating out the clock. However, if anyone has been following Barack Obama’s campaign, it is very clear that he has been advocating the same principles for bolstering the middle class, creating universal healthcare, making drastic improvement of the education system, and making college affordable, among others. So yes, Obama really had nothing else to do, but reiterate his political philosophy tonight.

John McCain on the other hand, had a lot to answer for. He has dug himself a six-footer, and he had to spend time plugging it up. Between Bill Ayers, ACORN, healthcare, economy, his picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has created his own hostile environment. He had no choice but to be fiery and unleash the fighter’s spirit. To this end, McCain succeeded. John McCain did exactly what he needed to do.



However, McCain’s demeanor shifted drastically as the debate progressed. He was shifting in his chair, and blinking, and combative, and angry. He has proven that he cannot keep his cool. An important quality that makes a good leader is grace under fire. Bill Clinton was incredibly cool, and life in the 90s was good. G.W. Bush is an ineffective communicator and very shifty and uncomfortable in the limelight, and he is arguably the worst American president. McCain does not look like a dunce on camera, but he truly lives up to the “hothead” McCain moniker, which could have very negative ramifications in the global political sphere.

“Senator Obama, I am not President Bush!” What an awesome line, delivered to perfection. It had the right sting and the right tone, but it didn’t come off as condescending. But Obama’s response was more impressive. And it wasn’t what Obama said the impressed me, it was the non-verbal cues. He absorb attacks without flinching, carefully chooses his words, and then follows up. This is leadership defined! It takes a very special person to be able to exhibit such patience under fire. There was one moment however when Obama’s resolve flickered somewhat, and then returned to normal, when Obama discussed the angry mobs yelling “terrorist” and “kill him.” Repudiate attacks on McCain’s healthcare plan showed on the commercials? Are you kidding me? That is a weak argument. It is not abnormal to attack each other’s plans to convince Americans one plan is better. Ads that incite nuts in the crowd to say despicable things is clearly out of bounds.

One topic where McCain completely failed was on abortion rights. That was an ugly finish. I am pro choice, and I also believe that the third trimester ban, except in the case where the mother’s health is in danger is important. It should be a woman’s right to question her morality on the issues, analyze the health risks, and with a her family and doctor make difficult choice. John McCain’s mocking of health risks to the mother was incredibly insensitive, and he will regret that statement in the morning.

What does this mean for the rest of the campaign? Well there are a few things to consider now. Virginia is now leaning Obama, with the latest polls showing him up by 10. This effectively means Obama wins the election with 277 electoral votes. If that lead holds up or increases, it is statistically impossible for McCain to win if the polls are accurately reflected on election day. Even if Obama doesn’t get Virginia, McCain needs to go 8 for 8 in the swing states. I strongly doubt he will win New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

For Obama, he needs to steadily continue on. He needs to continue to focus on the middle class, jobs, healthcare, and education. Essentially, he does not need to change his game plan. Throughout the 20 months that Obama has been campaigning, his steady and consistent message have been turning people to team Obama. The true snowball effect.

McCain however is in an incredibly difficult position. He is losing bad, and uphill battle may be the understatement of the year. McCain’s trek to the presidency is damn near a vertical climb with no ledges on which to grip himself. The factor that destroyed his campaign may be the only way to save it; he must change his message to lay out plans for the middle class. It is interesting that he refuses to use the word “middle class.” This was, is, and will continue to be a problem. Blue lens bias aside, I just can’t see how McCain can make up ground. The fact is, McCain supports trickle-down economics. Trickle-down economics does not work. He loses the economy debate, therefore he loses the election.

But wow, this debate was the fireworks show I think we’ve all have been waiting for! As a Long Island native, it is no surprise that this debate was so great… that’s how we do on Strong Island.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Episode 11: The Bradley Effect

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The Bradley Effect: Does it still hold true in modern politics?



The Bradley Effect…is a proposed explanation for a discrepancy between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in American political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in some voter polls, the Bradley effect refers to an alleged tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his/her white opponent.
-Wikipedia


There could be an argument made for the Bradley Effect in ’82. The social atmosphere in America was very different. There was a palpable tension between blacks and whites in the 80s that reached its boiling point with Rodney King in 1991. American culture was in somewhat of a “social recession” following the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Crime was increasing with each passing year, an if the music of time wass any indication, there was much social unrest.

Much has changed in two decades however. Massive gains in communications and information technology has made the globe much smaller and interconnected. The racial divides are beginning to fade, or at the very least, acknowledged. Companies can hire employees in several different countries, with all members communicating in real time. And with Wikipedia, Google, blogs, and other information sources, we all have equal access to the same information.

Therefore, in our current social atmosphere, I believe the Bradley Effect is irrelevant. More now than ever, Americans have the emotional and mental capacity to judge not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. I think the polls are very real and Bradley free. What use does Virginia in lying to the pollsters?! They have been a red state for 40 years. Now Obama is as many as 10 points up? How can anyone believe the Bradley effect holds any water in today’s atmosphere? If it were true, Obama would’ve been finished long ago.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Episode 10: BOOOO!!

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If this little tidbit is any indication of which way Pennsylvania is going to vote in 22 days, McCain may want to conceed this state as well, and focus his money in Texas...
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Episode 9: This Message Will Self Destruct

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A stinky pile of it hit the fan today, when John McCain had to confront the monster he has created.



Talk about a campaign spinning out of control. McCain has been forced to repudiate the anti-American, pro-terrorist attacks his campaign has spent the week injecting into their rallies. First, the fundamentals of our economy are strong and a few days later the economy is in crisis. Then he is going to suspend his campaign and postpone the debate to fix the crisis, and did nothing of the sort, taking 22 hours to leave for Washington, blowing off Letterman, and still had the debate. And now, he labels Obama as a man with questionable connections, and now has to renounce that claim at his own town hall meeting. If his campaign is a microcosm of how the next four years will be, we’re in big trouble if he somehow gets elected…
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Episode 8: Role Reversal

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I have been following the election campaign for about 15 months. There is a trend I’m beginning to see that started right around the time Sarah Palin was nominated for VP, and solidified when the stock market began its collapsed. The republican party has fallen apart. McCain is saying one thing, Palin is saying another, and both are not in sync with the GOP. McCain’s “maverick” ways are causing somewhat of a rift with the party, particularly with the new McCain proposal for the government to buy back all affected mortgages at full face value (more on that in another post). That plan is about as far from the republican philosophy as you can get, and a stunning contrast of his “small government” principles.

On the other side of the aisle however, the democrats have been the most cohesive I have ever seen them. They have rallied behind Obama, and together deliver one message. Even on issues with which they have expressed past disagreements, (Obama v. Clinton on healthcare or Obama v. Biden on the Iraq War) they have come to realize during this campaign that they all have the same goals, and the solutions can be fine tuned later. His campaign is largely based on modernizing the American philosophy so we can compete with the global marketplace.

With big picture ideas such as universal healthcare, community volunteerism, responsible foreign policy where we sit down with friends, and yes enemies so we can find solutions that don’t require firing guns at one another, and giving the struggling middle class much need support, he has created a platform that all democrats have been craving for years, certainly, for almost a decade. The idea of shared responsibility and sacrifice are foreign words to many Americans, as we have grown used to the idea of every-man-for-himself politics and social atmosphere. And it is the idea of a new atmosphere – a modernized America, that scares the old guard far more than Obama’s skin tone and middle name.

Yet a dysfunctional McCain campaign continues to harp on middle names, embrace a 1950s era “traditional” America, and incite Jim Crowe like mobs. “Terrorist!” “Kill him!” “Off with his head!” the people of the McCain/Palin mobs exclaim. And McCain and Palin idly stand by and watch decades of progress regress back to the darkest days of our history. With less than four weeks left on the campaign trail, they have lifted up the carpet and let loose all the closeted hatred and racial epithets swept under the rug for four decades. Yet McCain will never publicly admit his disdain for Obama. That would certainly spell the end of his campaign. What McCain is doing, is far worse than directly confronting Obama; he gets the negative dialogue going, and allows the mob to connect the dots – a clear allusion to the atmosphere leading up to the end of the reconstruction.

Still, I can’t help but hope. The polls indicate that this gutter-level rhetoric is not doing anything to sway the masses away from Obama. In fact, more people seem to be put off by McCain’s tactics. There is even a disconnect between the republican base, as many republicans are uninterested in tenuous connections to terrorists, and would rather hear about how they can afford to stay in their home. Considering John McCain did not once say “middle class” in the debate, it is still in question what team McCain truly plays for – the American citizens, or the special interest groups fueling his campaign?

Amidst it all, Obama has soared above the dirty campaign. He still has the charismatic smile, the confident gate, and the roar of a proud lion in his speeches. He is crisp, intelligent, and remains level headed. When he approaches the podium, he is greeted to thunderous applause, followed by deferential silence. He commands the respect of Americans and politicians alike. He is a true leader.

I think about President Bill Clinton, who had all the right ideas, but was way ahead of his time. Obama is the right man for the right time. Americans are at a crucial point where we have a choice to make. Will we display courage and build a new future with Obama at the helm, or will we remain complacent and regress to an America not quite ready for the 21st century with McCain’s shaky hand at the tiller? We will know in 26 days…
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Episode 7: Seriously AIG??

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After all the trials and tribulations of passing the bailout bill – or rescue plan depending on who you ask, AIG gives the taxpayers a huge slap in the face.

It’s kind of like a parent who gives their child money to pay the rent, and the child turns around and buys a PlayStation 3. AIG chief executive Edward Liddy claims that it is standard business practice to go on retreats. However, it is not standard business practice to go on a $440,000 retreat on the tab of American taxpayers, especially given the reluctance of many to pass this bill. The government told us that there is “blood on the street” and we are amidst a “financial Armageddon,” necessitating the need for a bailout. And only a week later after Americans swallowed a very large pill, do these people go to one of the most exclusive resorts in the country to get manicures, pedicures, and a $23,000 spa treatment.

Every executive on that trip should be fired and the money should be returned. Until the economy has recovered, every company bailed should lay low, keep their tails between their legs, and atone for their dishonorable actions.

Moral of the story, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Or maybe, there is no honor among thieves?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Episode 6: Round 2 - Debate Thoughts

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Chalk this one up in the W column for Barack Obama.  

As many commentators duly noted, McCain needed a decisive victory in this debate if he was to have any chance at derailing the Obama campaign. His message failed to extend beyond his republican base, and immediate polls showed that undecided voters and independents weren’t moved by McCain’s message.

Still, the candidates performed well. To McCain’s credit, he did deliver a spirited performance, prefacing each response to selected audience members by saying “thank you” for their questions. Sen. McCain enjoys the town hall environment (though not a traditional town hall setting) and appeared confident and in familiar territory. He was more aggressive in this debate, but his responses to Obama seemed cold and condescending. An interesting note: not once in this debate did McCain directly address the middle class, which may not fare well with the voters, considering the economy is the primary issue of this election.

                            

Barack Obama remained very presidential. Despite the nasty GOP smear campaign, Obama didn’t seem phased by it. He was incredibly calm, cool, and collected. He gave thoughtful answers that directly addressed the middle class most every time. However, I would have liked to see more flair. Obama was at his best when he delivered his incredibly insightful speeches at his rallies. He of course has to dial down his professorial tone to effectively speak to all Americans, but I think a little more flair could serve him well. If he increases his intensity just a notch, he will easily win the final debate.

This debate was a do-or-die situation for McCain. It is much like football game, when a team is losing by 4 with 30 seconds remaining in the game… he needed a touchdown to win, and he missed the mark.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Episode 5: Sic Him Palin! Sic Him!

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“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.” Or to anything, as the McCain/Palin ticket, unable to find any success discussing actual issues, resort to a time tested republican tactic of inciting fear amongst the American public.  

“He is pallin’ around with terrorists,” he is “dangerous,” he has connections with domestic terrorists, and gee willikers folks, he is "not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.” As you see America and I see America. Note here, the not so subtle racial tone of this attack, made by Sarah Palin during a rally in Colorado. Without any platform on which to stand after disastrous interviews with Katie Couric, an economy quickly falling into depression – the root of the trouble primarily attributed to republican deregulatory ideology, and the polls now in Obama’s favor in red state strongholds, the only tactic left is to defame Obama with scare tactics. And serendipity would have it Barack Obama is a black man. A scary, militant, dangerous, black man white America. Can you really trust him? It is stupefying how we have come so far with race relations in this country, only to walk two steps forward and four steps back.

Can we blame Palin and the McCain campaign to resorting to pit bullish desperation? After all, the way to really get a dog fighter to a rabid, irrational state is to starve it to near death. Is that not the state of the republican party now? Starved for answers, starved for truth, starved for integrity? The republican fear mongering brings to mind the famous Obi-wan Kenobi proverb, “who’s more foolish, the fool, or the person who follows him?” Who exactly is the audience for these disgusting attacks? I have been called a hopeless optimist, so I hope that I am correct in thinking these attacks only fire up the gullible and the closet racists who were already voting for McCain anyway – the fools who blindly follow the fools.  

I long for the day when this country can grow up, and finally sit at the adult’s table.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Episode 4: Small Town Values

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Episode 3: Mission Failed

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The bailout failed the other day. It seems it was a blessing in disguise.

I kind of/sort of see why some would call for a bailout. I am no economist, but it seems AIG’s failure would jeopardize the financial structure of businesses home and abroad, retirement plans for many Americans, and recall loans insured by them.

A bailout seems to absorb the damage cause by greedy corporate thieves rather than helping Americans damaged by their actions. By using taxpayer money, most of whom are innocent bystanders of this catastrophe, the government would give one man the power to allocate $700 Billion dollars as he saw fit. All of this of course adding to our $1 Trillion deficit. It all sounds like a film trailer to an awful movie in the end. Imagine if you will the voice of the late, great Don LaFontaine (aka the movie trailer voice):

“In a world, where Wall Street collapsed, and America feared for its economic future. In a time when confusion and terror reigned supreme. One man alone can save America and the world from Armageddon… HANK PAULSON! *explosion* Decisions are no longer renewable… WALL STREET MELTDOWN… Coming soon to a theater near you.”

With the bailout failed, it gives us some time to really think about the implications of the bill. As an American who is not an expert economist, the bill sounded incredibly confusing. This is a problem because our representatives are putting an incredibly expensive bill on the table that neither they or their constituents truly understood. Listening to the reasons both Ds and Rs rejected it, they seem to find the bill confusing as well. More importantly, it is a fundamentally flawed idea. No matter how you cut it, this bill rewards the greedy, corporate thieves, by giving them a second chance at survival. A bailout is in direct contrast to a free market system that allowed (for better or for worse

I whole heartedly believe in our free market system. It is the system that makes America the most powerful working force in the world. It inspires creativity, innovation, and low prices. When a company is successful in the free market system, it can become incredibly wealthy and influential. When it fails, the company dies and disappears of the market. Sometimes the owner can sell the company to someone else to develop an idea that still may have promise, so the he at best breaks even, or at worst is in a bunch of debt if there are no takers. This is the life cycle of the free market. Therefore, the bailout of AIG is not only in direct contrast of the free market system, but also of the quintessential republican ideology. AIG should suffer the same fate as Lehman Borthers.

Therefore, with a second chance to make the right choice it is essential that we do not pass the bailout. AIG needs to complete the natural process of a failed company. The truth of the matter is, no matter how Congress swings it, there is a chance that the bailout could fail, $700 billion is wasted, every American is drowned in debt, the stock markets crash anyway, and AIG still fails. This leaves us with the 3 solutions: 1) print more money to absorb or erase the debt (which will make the dollar bill worth less than peso), 2) enter a depression and hope somehow we can achieve economic growth (which will impact markets all over the world), or find a free market solution with government sanctions (which causes left and right bickering the results in inaction – see consequence 2).  

As for a free market solution, I think that various banks and insurance companies should band together and absorb the funds for retirement and redistribute those polices between them. Those who do should get some kind of tax credit or something of the like from the government. The government should go case by case and evaluated the economic situation of each person affected by a bum loan. It should either be restructured to rates that people can pay for, and the rest of the debt absorbed into our debt that a strong economy of the future will fix. A bailout is a national embarrassment and serves to undermine our own system and our worldwide credibility.

Moreover, the failed stock markets don’t seem to affect anyone outside the AIG bubble. Money in the banks are safe. You don’t have to cash out your bank account and stuff it in a shoebox. What did happen is banks would be nervous about giving out loans. And if that happens, it’s like a car salesman who is afraid to sell cars. However, I truly believe it AIG dies, and we approach the problem with a free market solution, justice will be served, and there will be no reason to fear giving loans, especially with proper regulation in place.

Barack Obama announced a plan to increase the FDIC insurance from $100,000, to $250,000. This would help secure money for American citizens, and help small business owners continue to operate. Most importantly, a major overhaul of the financial system is needed. A rush job bill will not do the trick.

Both Obama and McCain supported the bill. Both reluctantly I’ll admit. However, Obama has been proposing ideas for reform of the system all along, including policies of transparency (Google for Government for example), bankruptcy reform, taxpayer protections, and regulation of the market (btw- all provisions he called for in the bailout bill). Here’s why this will work. The free market system is like a game. And a game ONLY works when there are rules. Obama doesn’t want to let government get in the way of the free market, in fact, his ENTIRE economic and energy plan REQUIRES the free market system to work! So in creating a “large government,” he is calling for the regulations to serve as a playbook, so that everyone is playing the same game fairly, so everyone has an equal shot at success. His whole campaign is based on every American getting a fair shot.

This bailout issues is also what troubles me so much about McCain. He is going against his OWN fundamental principles. Why hasn’t he devised a free market plan? The republican base would LOVE that. And frankly, it’s the right call in my opinion. The reason is because behind closed doors, he’s trying to protect his Wall St. buddies from losing millions and going straight to the poor house or better, jail. McCain has not stood firmly for any issue on the economy. His deregulation ideology only serves the top 1% of the wealthiest people in this country. These are the people McCain is protecting. He truly is a maverick… unpredictable, unguided, and dangerous. There is a saying, if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything…
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